Morning papers: Barclays boosts bonuses as profits plunge

In spite of Barclays confirming a 32 per cent drop in full year profit, staff will enjoy a bumper bonus after the bank boosted the bonus pool by 10 per cent, reports The Guardian.

The bank announced it was paying bonuses of £2.4bn – up from £2.2bn a year ago – to 140,000 staff across the bank, with investment bankers taking 14 per cent more than they did in 2012 despite recording a fourth quarter loss.

The investment banking division will take a bonus share worth £1.6bn compared with £1.4bn a year ago, even though the investment banking side suffered a loss in the fourth quarter and its annual profits tumbled 37 per cent.

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The bank as a whole saw its profits fall to £5.2bn from £7bn.

Icesave row resurrected by £5.6bn lawsuit

British and Dutch authorities have reignited the “controversial dispute” over the collapse of online lender Icesave at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 by filing a lawsuit for up to IKr1,000bn (£5.6bn) against Iceland’s bank guarantee fund, the Financial Times reports.

Iceland’s guarantee scheme, TIF, said yesterday (10 February) that the UK was seeking IKr452bn while the Netherlands wanted IKr104bn. Both countries are also seeking interest and costs in the five-year-old dispute, the FT states.

The dispute stems from money lost by more than 300,000 British and Dutch depositors in high-yielding Icesave accounts marketed by Landsbanki, one of the three big Icelandic banks that collapsed in 2008.

According to the FT, the UK and Dutch governments “chose to reimburse savers through their domestic deposit insurance schemes even though the bank fell under Icelandic jurisdiction”.

CBI warns politics could derail economy

The Confederation of British Industry has warned that political uncertainty surrounding next year’s general election could derail a “fragile economy” in business investment, the Telegraph reports.

While business optimism was finally translating into IT, advertising and research investment, Katja Hall, the CBI’s chief policy director, said political tensions during the build-up to the 2015 election were a potential “mood killer” for investment.

Sir Mike Rake, president of the CBI, warned last month that “politically motivated” anti-business policies by Labour leader Ed Miliband risked holding back the recovery.

According to the Telegraph, the CBI called on MPs to follow-through on pledges to improve infrastructure, as well as implementing “pro-enterprise” and “pro-business” policies that would ensure the recovery remained “rooted”.

Banks to be benchmarked against each other

The Telegraph reports that British banks will be “benchmarked against one another to track their performance”, with lenders expected to publish figures ranging from the number of staff that make whistleblowing complaints, to how many employees are in professional training.

The moves aimed at restoring trust in the financial sector will be overseen by a new as yet unnamed professional body for banks, following the recommendations of a preliminary report by former CBI director general, Sir Richard Lambert.

According to Sir Richard, the unnamed body could be up and running by the end of this year.